Thursday, September 29, 2005

Does It Make It Any Better That The US Is Now Doing The Torturing?

In reference to to Bush's PR Lady, Karen Hughes, remarks to Turkish women's concerns with the war in Iraq:

In speaking out against the conflict in Iraq, Tuksal (a Turkish woman) said that "in every photograph that I see from Iraq, I see the fear and concern in their eyes and I cannot relax."

"I feel the pain that you are feeling," Hughes said, but she added: "It is impossible to say that the plight of women was better under Saddam Hussein. Women were tortured, they had their children tortured in front of them."

Hmmmm... So, the fact that US Soldiers are commanded to torture children in front of their parents, and women tortured in front of their families... Apparently, that's better than under Saddam's regime. Maybe in your world, Ms. Hughes.

The Time Has Come... To Face The Facts...

Remember that song by, oh, what's the name of that band? They sang, "The time has come... to face the facts... ... Beds are Burnin'..." Golden Eye or Gold Knife or something like that. That song jammed!

Anyway, what I wanted to really get at is that many residents of New Orleans are able to go back to their homes and access the damages from Hurricane Katrina. Yes, it has been one month, hasn't it? Some authorities think that it is too soon to let residents back in. I say its high time! How will New Orleans rebuild when residents are not around to help clean up? If I was away from my home for a long period of time, even knowing that there might not be much left when I get back, I would still want to get back home as soon as possible. There is something detrimental to the human spirit when you live out on the road in foreign places for too long.

Assessing reality is better sometimes. There is a sense of comfort in facing the facts. It is a part of the grieving process, and a part of the getting on with your life process. It's about re-establishing home again. It is a part of creating change and making a place better than when you left it.

The irony is that we are still debating a strategy to get Iraq back on its own feet. The current Bush Administration believes that we should stay the course, which means that we will be there for an infinity. That is like authorities telling the residents of New Orleans that they can't have their city back until it is the right time, in the authorities eyes, which could be never.

As New Orleans will have to deal with contamination caused by the flooding for many years, Iraq will also have to deal with contamination from violence for many years, too. However, the sooner both places are able to try and rebuild, to re-establish themselves again, the better off they will be as communities.

The longer the U.S. sticks our nose in their issues, the more people lose faith in the United States, because the U.S. has by such actions shown a lack of faith in people.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What The PUC?

Do these soldiers understand what they are doing when torturing detainees (referred to as PUCs--persons under control)?

Extreme torture is violence, a hate crime, evil, sickening.

Do these soldiers and their superiors realize the more they torture the more psychological ammunition is given to the enemy?

The enemy, by the way, are not cyborgs or robots. These are people just like you and me. They have feelings and emotions. They have mothers, fathers, loved ones, and friends. Just like we do. Like Jesus said, what you do to the least among you, you do to me. Wonder if these soldiers realize who they are torturing?

In allowing these situations and ignoring the chain of command that should be responsible for their soldiers' behavior, does the United States realize that other countries do not trust us anymore as peace loving people?

Do we realize that when Johnny comes marching home, he will need to vent his stress (as he did with PUCs, as the article states this was a stress-relieving game), and find that he will have to find a PUC to torture? Do we realize the kind of permanent psychological and character damage we do to soldiers when they are commanded to torture? Do we realize that these soldiers who are now geared toward violence will be our neighbors, spouses, parents, and friends when they come back from their time in Iraq?

Should we be frightened of the monster we've created in Iraq? You bet!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI Kind of Scares Me...

Pope Benedict XVI is probably not an evil person, but he scares me for some reason. Remember the character "Penguin" in Batman? Yeah. The Pope reminds me of Penguin. It just scares me a bit. I think I would be a bit frightened if, when I meet Jesus face to face, Jesus looked like "Penguin."

By the way, for some reason, the photos will not post. So, I guess I need to give you some links to see the comparison:

Christ's Representative?

The Roman Catholic Church believes that a priest is Christ's Representative.

Would Christ's representative do pedophile acts? No.

Would Christ's representative do anything to harm the flock? No.

Would Christ's representative be acknowledged as such only from their knowledge and gender? No.

It is more than just book learning and the fact that someone has the right anatomy. It is about character. It is about how someone leads. It is about charity, humanity to all this person comes in contact with, regardless of who they are or their social status. It is about encompassing Christ, and all His loving and sacrificed sacredness, in their being. It is about the Spirit of LOVE. (Remember Paul's view of Love in 1st Corinthians? Yup. That is an excellent model for the faithful, especially priests, to follow.)

There is more to being a priest than just adhering to the teachings of the Catholic Church. It is about living the truth and being an example of Jesus to all.

Is a pedophile priest an example of Jesus? IMHO, absolutely not.

Being a priest is not about their sexual orientation. Being a priest has no room for those who abuse their role as Christ's representative.

The Roman Catholic Church has a very strong and solid foundation (Christ and His first followers, who were both men, women and children), the walls built by the faithful as guided by the Holy Spirit are unwaivering to uphold Christ's love (although our humanity shows its disposition as the walls paint flakes off needing to be repented, er repainted frequently), however it seems the establishment's roof (clergy and priests, Christ's representatives) wasn't built with the same integrity and durability. Some roof spans are very strong and have had to withstand the stress from weaker spans, and sometimes have broken due to the weakened state of the roof. The roof is being to fail to protect the faithful, the roof leaks and the elements damage the walls further (bishops allowed pedophile priests to continue serving people knowing that the priest would likely continue inappropriate activities, the diocese is weakened financially and spiritually by pedophile cases). Sometimes the roof sags, forcing its weight against the walls and creating permanent structural damage that could cause the structure to fall (i.e., bankruptcies due to the pedophile priest issues, the victims and their loved ones who have endured the pain of molestation, and those who have taken advantage of the situation, many walls have faltered).

If the US Roman Catholic Church can recover from the downfall, I pray that we will find good architects that hold to the spiritual traditions of our faith, not the societal and cultural traditions that force the collapse of the roof.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Should Celibate Priests Have A Sexual Preference? I hope not.

There is way too much talk about sex and priests these days. Someone with a loud bull horn needs to wake up the Roman Catholic Church and tell them that if priests are to be celibate that they have no wish to be sexual in any way! Period. End of story.

But, no. The Catholic Church in regard to its priests sound more like a Salt 'n Peppa song ("Let's Talk About Sex, baby..."), than a serious intellectual and spiritual powerhouse for Christ. Stop playing this record about homosexual and heterosexual priests if they indeed are to be celibate.

If the priest is to be celibate as the Roman Catholic Church demands, then I don't want a homosexual priest and I definitely don't want a heterosexual priest. I just want a priest that has no interest in sex at all. Because if they aren't going to get any, don't talk about it.

Let's push the envelope of similes: That's like telling a person who doesn't smoke and will never intend to smoke, to state if they are a Marlboro man or a Winstons lover, or if they prefer cigarettes over cigars or tobacco chew. As a person who has zero yearnings to smoke or imbibe in tobacco products, I can tell you that I have no idea and zero interest in preference for smoking.

If a man wants to be a celibate priest in the Roman Catholic Church, then they should also have NO SEXUAL PREFERENCE AT ALL. There is NO REASON to have a sexual preference in a celibate clergy. They ain't gettin' any, my brother, so cut the gist. They should NOT BE HOMOSEXUAL. They should NOT BE HETEROSEXUAL. They should NOT BE BISEXUAL. They should be a priest. Period.

If You Can't Go Through It... Or: Gulf Coast Texans, enjoy your weeklong vacation!

Remember the saying that taught kids about prepositional phrases? Let me paraphrase it:

If you can't go through it, go over it.
If you can't go over it, go around it.

There's more to it, but these two statements will work for this demonstration. These teaching phrases teach more than just about prepositional phrases. They teach people that if you can't do what you want to do one way, think about doing it differently, until you can get it done.

It's teaching creative and varied thinking, something that can be difficult in this time and age when people seem to liken themselves to sheep or cattle. Just follow the ones ahead. This seems to be what's happening in the mass evacuation from the Galvaston/Houston area. Everyone and their dog is taking I-45 to the Austin/Dallas area. Cars and gas stations along the way are running out of gas. And frustrations are running people out of their sanity, too. That's what happens when people run around like sheep in big groups.

One thing I learned in my driver's ed class in high school is to avoid driving in packs of vehicles. It is just more hazardous and risky than driving alone. That's probably why I didn't like driving in Denver, where the clogged major arteries pushed many like me to drive the obscure routes, and after a while those too became more and more popular. However, there was always a couple of routes off the beaten path to get away from the pack.

And, for those in Texas who are trying to get away from the approaching threat of Rita, if you don't like going 100 yards an hour, take the next available off-ramp (or off-road makeshift ramp) and go a different direction away from the storm's target. You don't have to drive on congested I-45. You don't have to go to Dallas. Venture out and make the best of the situation. Take the road less traveled. Take a mini-vacation and travel up to the Ozarks, or Memphis, OR up north to Iowa's Great Lakes region where you will find great lakes from our quaint Five Island Lake (a great place to fish and relax), up to the Iowa tourist-mecca at Okoboji where you will find the glory days of past amusement parks alive and well at Arnolds Park with their old wooden "Big Coaster" now called the "Legend," and my personal favorite, the "Crazy House" at the entrance of the park.

The joy of visiting the Iowa Great Lakes is that hurricanes don't come around these parts.

You want to know how to get to the beginning of the beautiful Iowa Great Lakes and avoid I-45? Here's how:

0 0:00 Starting Trip 1258 24:21
Start East on I-10 for 1.6mi
2 0:01 Junction With US 59 Eastex Frwy 1256 24:20
Turn North on US 59 Eastex Frwy for 12mi
Cont. North on US 59 for 280mi
283 4:41 Approaching Vicinity of Texarkana TX/AR 975 19:40
294 4:55 Junction With I-30 964 19:26
Turn East on I-30 for 3mi
298 4:59 Junction With US 59 960 19:22
Turn North on US 59 for 103mi
298 4:59 Entering Arkansas (max speed limit 65 mph) 960 19:22
401 6:58 Junction With US 71 857 17:23
Cont. North on US 71 for 36mi
437 7:40 Junction With Rt 23 821 16:41
Cont. North on Rt 23 for 44mi
481 8:38 Junction With US 64 777 15:43
Turn West on US 64 for 0.6mi
481 8:39 Junction With Rt 23 777 15:42
Turn North on Rt 23 for 28mi
509 9:15 Junction With Rt 16 749 15:06
Turn West on Rt 16 for 30mi
534 9:48 Approaching Vicinity of Fayetteville AR 724 14:33
539 10:03 Junction With Hunt.St 719 14:18
Cont. West on Hunt.St for 1mi
Cont. West on 6th St for 0.6mi
540 10:08 Junction With Rt 180 718 14:13
Cont. West on Rt 180 for 1.7mi
542 10:11 Junction With US 62 716 14:10
Turn East on US 62 for 1.8mi
544 10:13 Junction With Rt 16 714 14:08
Turn West on Rt 16 for 24mi
568 10:50 Junction With US 412 690 13:31
Cont. West on US 412 for 16mi
571 10:54 Entering Oklahoma (max speed limit 70 mph) 687 13:27
584 11:07 Junction With US 59 674 13:14
Turn North on US 59 for 230mi
661 12:35 Entering Kansas (max speed limit 70 mph) 597 11:46
807 15:23 Approaching Vicinity of Lawrence KS 451 8:58
Cont. North on US 59 Iowa St for 4mi
Turn East on US 59 for 37mi
854 16:36 Junction With US 159 404 7:45
Turn North on US 159 for 58mi
908 17:38 Entering Nebraska (max speed limit 75 mph) 350 6:43
912 17:42 Junction With US 73 346 6:39
Cont. North on US 73 for 16mi
928 17:59 Junction With US 75 330 6:22
Cont. North on US 75 for 77mi
999 19:11 Approaching Vicinity of Omaha NE 259 5:10
1005 19:17 Junction With I-480 253 5:04
Cont. North on I-480 for 2.6mi
1008 19:19 Junction With US 75 250 5:02
Cont. North on US 75 for 6mi
1013 19:25 Junction With I-680 245 4:56
Turn South on I-680 for 0.9mi
1014 19:26 Junction With US 75 244 4:55
Turn North on US 75 for 88mi
1096 20:54 Approaching Vicinity of Sioux City IA 162 3:27
1102 21:07 Junction With I-129 US 20 US 77 156 3:14
Turn East on I-129 US 20 US 77 for 2.8mi
Cont. East on I-129 US 20 US 75 for 0.3mi
1105 21:10 Entering Iowa (max speed limit 65 mph) 153 3:11
1105 21:10 Junction With I-29 153 3:11
Turn North on I-29 for 4mi
1109 21:14 Junction With US 20b Gordon Dr 149 3:07
Turn East on US 20b Gordon Dr for 1.4mi
1110 21:16 Junction With US 75 148 3:05
Turn North on US 75 for 25mi
1135 21:50 Junction With Rt 60 123 2:31
Cont. North on Rt 60 for 51mi
1187 22:53 Junction With Rt 9 71 1:28
Turn East on Rt 9 for 30mi
1217 23:31 Junction With US 71 41 0:50
Turn North on US 71 for 7mi
1224 23:40 Junction With Rt 9 34 0:41
Turn East on Rt 9 for 9mi
1233 23:50 Junction With Rt 4 25 0:31
Turn South on Rt 4 for 20mi
1253 24:16 Junction With US 18 5 0:05
Turn East on US 18 for 5mi

1258 24:21 Ending at: US 18 & Rt 4

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Commit The Posse Home!

The National Guard must come home! Bring them home and keep them home!

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina revealed a terrible gap (an understatement) in our country's ability to defend itself from enemies, foreign, domestic, and natural. The National Guard has been given certain responsibilities and abilities to respond appropriately as first national responders to defend the homeland of the United States of America and protect its citizens.

However, for some reason(s), the National Guard has veered off course, and now we see a large sum of our National Guard on foreign soil. Why? I don't know. Likely, because they are seen as additional forces that are need to fight a war in Iraq and other countries we currently occupy. The National Guard has apparently become the backup when the troop numbers of the four branches of the armed forces becomes too low to support the missions in these foreign countries.

What about protecting the United States here, at home??? Who's here to protect us, then? Well, we have the armed forces that were left here at home and the rest of the National Guard not serving abroad. And, the mess after Katrina. Sigh.

It is a conflict of interest to have both the military and the guard filling roles in each others playing field. How? Well, domestic protection is a whole different ballgame from military action in a foreign land. On the home front, citizens don't appreciate being treated roughly by a military force and it is just not good public relations. Military forces have been trained to disregard the humanity of things for the cause of war. It takes a different breed: skill set and mind set to accomplish military actions abroad in times of conflict. The National Guard should be trained and focused only to protect the humanity of our homeland and defend its citizens from invasion, regardless if it be from enemies or natural forces, and keep our country from turning into chaos. Thus, the missions of these two groups should not be served together at home or abroad. They serve different goals and different missions.

If we want to protect our homeland, then bring back and keep our National Guard at home to serve and protect us from invaders, and help us during times of crisis both natural and manmade. Currently the primary objective of the National Guard seems to be to support the armed forces, not the nation's security. Secondary, as the role we all know, is to support local and state authorities. These roles must be reversed and support of the armed forces should be secondary and as a function of support on the home front only. The National Guard should be a branch in the Department of Homeland Security, as should the Coast Guard as their missions are similar. The National Guard should work in conjunction with FEMA, be fully aware and drilled on plans and preparations for all situations that threatened the homeland security. The National Guard should also be prepared to defend the country against all foreign enemies and guard our country here on our home soil.

However, there are several instances recently where the Bush Administration has requested the 127 year old federal law called Posse Comitatus Act be amended or abolished all together.

Posse Comitatus was put in place so that only under extreme circumstances could our country be ruled by martial law, that is the military would be the law enforcement. This applies to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines along with their reserve forces. This could only be done by an act of congress, and was limited to two years or less.

The only exception to this law is that the national guard and coast guard can assist local law enforcement without congressional intervention.

As it states in the above website's article, comitatus posse means "power by the county." Allowing the military to essentially have the authority over laws, is declaring perpetual martial law in the United States.

Why? Why do this when we already have a National Guard that already have the authority to help the local authorities when called? Because our country, instead of having a ready force to protect our country's ground here, we set them to fight in Iraq and serve in foreign installations.

I say, DON'T CHANGE THE POSSE COMITATUS ACT! No, change the role of the National Guard to keep them at home to serve us here! And bring back our National Guard from foreign countries NOW!

Pssst! We have another extremely violent hurricane about to unleash its fury on Texas and other gulf coast states again. If we sent those military troops that are here out to fight on foreign lands, and brought back the rest of our National Guard home, then we would have the man power to enforce and protect our citizens from threats, manmade and natural.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Denmark Researchers Able To Store Hydrogen in Tablet

I almost forgot to post this great news from Denmark!

Click on the title of this post for the link.

Denmark Technical University has found a way to store hydrogen in tablet form! This is a breakthrough advancement in utilizing hydrogen as a renewable source of energy to replace our dependence on oil and petroleum products. Read the article and get excited!


GET PREPARED for an Emergency

September is National Preparedness Month.

Seriously, let's get prepared and remember, we must individually be prepared. Regardless if the emergency is a hurricane threatening your hometown tomorrow, or a noxious gas leak from a train wreck, there are several things you should do now to prepare.

Set up a telephone contact out of state and have each family member memorize that phone number and in the event the family is separated you have a central contact to get back together, and if you have small kids in school or daycare, have that out of state contact as one of the contacts on your kid's school info.

Keep a five day supply of water (you know how long it took to get help into NOLA!) and non-perishable foods for each person in your family in sealed and waterproof containers, along with a way to get into those containers (can openers, scissors, knives) and a set of utensils (again for each person in your family) to eat it (those camp mess kits are great for this, or even just keep around a sierra cup and a spoon). Make sure that you place these, and at least one canister of wet-wipes in a bag that is water tight and easy to carry with you if you need to evacuate.

Keep at least a five-day supply of medications that you need daily in an alternative location, like with the food, sealed water tight and easily toteable. Also, store a first-aid kit not only with bandages and those supplies, but with pain relievers and cold and allergy medicine.

If you have physically impaired people in your family, make sure you take the necessary steps to help them get to safety and have equipment that doesn’t need electricity to help them survive.

Are your vaccinations updated? Make sure that at least your tetanus shot has been updated in the last seven years or less.

Keep a sleeping bag, a small blanket (no pillows, they take up too much room, a small blanket can be rolled into a pillow shape, and can also be used to warm another person), one bath towel, a flashlight and battery powered radio (those that you crank are great because you don't have to worry about replacing batteries and the ones with built in flashlight are even better), a pocket knife, a face mask (in the event of a gas leak, just something to block the mouth and nose), three sets of clothes and shoes per family member with your food and meds. Maybe, make a backpack for each family member with all these necessary items (sleeping bag doesn't need to go in back pack, but should be able to carry it easily), so that it is easy for each one to grab in an emergency and if any one is separated during an emergency, they will at least have what they need to survive on their own for a while.

Place your emergency backpacks in a location that is easy to access, regardless of the emergency. Since I live in Iowa, I would likely (yup, I don't have emergency backpacks for my family done yet) put the backpacks either on the stairs to the basement or an easily accessible room next to the stairs in the basement (if in the basement I would put them on hooks/shelves that would be at least four feet high in case the basement flooded).

Check your emergency bags twice a year to rotate out the old water and food into the kitchen to use and place new water and food in its place. Replace anything that has been taken out of the backpack (like bandages that were grabbed out of the pack during that hypothetical emergency when all the neighbor kids fell off your trampoline at the same time). Replace expired and soon to expire medications. Replace batteries in the flashlight and radio, if they need batteries. Check the flashlight to make sure the light bulb still works. Also, make sure that the clothes still fit, and if not, trade them out for clothes that will fit.

If you live in a hurricane prone area, consider placing functional solid sheet shutters that are easy to close and nail to the window frames every time you have to prepare for a hurricane, so you don't have to go to the hardware store or your garage and get plywood sheets to board all your windows all the time. This saves time and hassle. They also make these exterior metal shades that automatically will roll out and close over your windows to protect them. Pretty neat stuff.

Also, keep a baseball bat around (which if you don’t know how to bash someone’s head, they could use it against you) or better yet, forget the bat and get your black belt in Tae Kwon Do, just in case you have to fend off looters and rapists. This would be something you could get your whole family to master, and might come in handy regardless of the disaster or situation.

If you live in a flood prone area (or if your basement floods a lot), invest in those space-saver bags to save your treasured belongings (especially photo albums and scout badges, etc. that are stored) from getting waterlogged. Or if you can't afford them, put them in sealable thick plastic bags, suck the air out of them and seal them tight to help keep the water out. Also, invest in sand bags or better yet, haul some dirt in and build a berm around your house higher than the worst flood that has ever happened in your area (or build a two- or three-tier berm system that would circle like a target around your home in ascending heights-from low to high towards your house but not against your house-to help minimize damage from a rush of flooding waters). Place flowers and other vegetation on the berm that would help soak up the waters when it floods, and make it look pretty when it doesn't flood.

If you live in a tornado prone area, set up a tornado shelter in your home (interior room with no windows on the lowest level of your home) with your emergency backpacks nearby. Keep in your tornado shelter an old sofa that you can flip over easily and can take the cushions off to protect you, or a sturdy table that you can get under. Do not place anything heavy on any table in that room that could topple off and injure or crush you. Keep an extra NOAA weather radio in the room, along with a sturdy metal flashlight (you might need to use it to smash your way out). If you have small treasured belongings (photo albums, jewelry, etc.) that you don't want to be destroyed, make sure they are somewhere easily accessible (but not easy to steal if someone were to break into your home, of course) and quick to grab (in a small bag or container) if you have time before the tornado hits. If you see the tornado outside your window, forget your stuff and dive for the basement.

Also, if you live in cold winter climes, create an emergency kit for your car with blankets, food, water, matches, and flashlight in case you get trapped in a snowdrift during a raging blizzard.

Also, create an emergency pack just in case the electricity goes out. Keep extra blankets, flashlights, battery-operated or crank radio, matches, and other safe items to keep warm and to warm foods in case the lights go out during a winter storm.

Get your family prepared, also, in case of a fire in your home, too. Check your fire detectors and CO detectors and replace the batteries once or twice a year. Check out and invest in dual powered (battery and electric, just in case either isn’t working) and linked fire detectors (so if there’s a fire in your basement’s furnace room, instead of just setting off the basement alarm that you can’t hear in your sleep at your second floor bedroom, the link will set off all alarms linked to the one detecting the fire and wake you up in time to get your family awake and out of the house). Go through fire safety tips and fire escape procedures with all family members at least once a year. Make sure there are fire extinguishers at least in the kitchen and near any place where there is an open flame (natural gas furnace, hot water heaters, natural gas dryers), and make sure they are full (check your local fire department to get them recharged).

I’m sure there are other emergency situations I am forgetting, but please check out these websites and get prepared.

This website will have more information to help prepare:

These places sell MREs and other emergency items (I’m not saying to go buy these, but just a resource):

Rita Makes Aim At Bush's Texas

For those crazy people who want to see if our Emergency Relief system has been fixed yet: (Imagine this: Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, leading a cheer...) P-O-W-E-R! Rita's got the power! Rita's got the power! Ooooh, yah. Ooooh, yah. Wooooo, Go RITA! Rita's got the power, oooh, yah. Bring it on, Rita! Bush will save us!

Why Aren't Seat Belts Mandatory in School Buses?

It is amazing how strict vehicle restraining laws have become for parents with young children. In the state of Iowa, a child must be restrained in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old. However, school buses are exempt from this law. School buses are even exempt from having any type of seat belt or safety restraint whatsoever! Why???

After watching this video, I think you too will question why school buses do not have any seat belts. (The driver of the bus swerved to miss a car in its path and in the process rolled the school bus. All the children in this accident escaped with only cuts and bruises, luckily. This could have been much more severe, though. Notice how all the kids are tossed and one side gets bunched up to the other. Death and permanent injuries could have been easily possible in a similar situation.)

Bush Shows High Morals in the White House

More opportunities to show his high virtues (video):
(Video from his Texas Governor days.)

Wonderful, President Bush.

By the way, the bird just doesn't go with the suits.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bush's Relief Funding, Relief Only For His Friends

If you think that after viewing the abject humiliation displayed by the poor folks left behind in the wake of Katrina, that President Bush would truly be sympathetic in his response, think again. Yes, he did allocation massive amount of Federal funding to help rebuild hurricane ravaged parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana and he was very glad to report his "generosity" in a wonderfully staged speech at Jackson Square in NOLA, with the beautifully lit St. Louis Cathedral as the backdrop (now, where did the electricity come from to pull off such a PR stint?).

But, what he doesn't say, is that this relief is pretty much only for his friends. All those no-bid contracts go to his buddies (see previous post about that). And to top it off, he has suspended the Davis-Bacon Act which would require the Federal contractors to pay "prevailing wages" to their workers. What does this mean? It means that Bushco's buddies will reap ALL the benefits of these contracts, while being able to pocket even more because they can pay these workers less than the going rate.

Sadly, many of these workers will likely be those that want to rebuild their communities and will be most in need of the money to rebuild their own homes. So, it's like a catch-22. You want the Federal Government's help, but instead of helping the people most in need by giving them a living wage, Bushco would rather make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Bush is so good about giving the finger to Americans.

So, who's anti-American? Maybe Bush and his Republican Regime are the ones that hate Americans so much. He certainly acts like that.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Do You Know of a Community Hit by Katrina?

Our community is doing a special fund raising effort to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The citizen that started this relief effort in our community wanted to have the money go to somewhere other than a large organization like the Red Cross. Another person had the idea to find a community similar in size (3,800 pop.) that was hit by Katrina where we could send the funds directly.

If you know of a small community, around 3,500 people, that was hit by Katrina, please let me know by commenting to this post.

Knowing exactly where the funds go, to see a community our size affected by such a disaster, and to give names and faces to the tragedy, not only will help us to better understand the situation, but will give our community a focus to our relief efforts.

Please, if you know of any community that is 3,500 population that would be willing to take a donation to help rebuild their community (i.e., the mayor and city or a responsible local non-profit that could show what the donations went towards), comment to this post as soon as possible!

Thank you!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Who Needs Property Insurance? Health Insurance Next??

Who needs property insurance when the Federal government will bail you out and pay for everything when disaster strikes?

So, what kind of tragedy will have to happen before the Federal government will want to pay for health insurance for all Americans?

Maybe this? (Thanks to Robert Rouse and his blog "Left of Centrist" for alerting me to the potential of this flu strain.)

The Power of Radio

Even though this article is almost a week old, it struck a raw cord with me today. Many times we take for granted that there's a radio station in our communities, there to serve the community, especially in our time of need. It is a bond for a community when there is nothing else left to bond it.

I remember growing up and listening to the shortwave band on my new boom box (this is 1982, by the way), hearing foreign voices and popular sounding songs with different voices, then I heard Voice of America, like some covert radio that gave in my opinion more honest news coverage than the US media. Then, after hearing French (or was it Italian?) spinning the new music by MichAEL JacksON (the emPHAsis on the last syllABles), I heard the sounds of Mardi Gras, live from the French Quarter in New Orleans on WRNO. Every night I would tune in and hear the lastest on the Krewe parties and the fun on Bourbon Street. That was the magic of radio.

And then there was the other magic. When the tornado siren would go off in town, and the bright sunny afternoon would turn black as the deep cloudy midnight, our family would run down to the basement, huddled in the corner with our candles and flashlights listening to our battery powered radio where a weather announcer from KICD gave a play-by-play of the storm's path and the destruction that it posed to the communities it approached. There were a couple of summers early in the 80s where almost every storm would bring down a couple of large trees in the community. And the summer of the tornados that hit Manson and Algona.

I remember when a fast acting storm threatened the Bill Riley Talent Search during Greater Rolfe Days one summer, right after the Manson tornado. The majority at the event didn't think twice to go to the library's basement that was a block away, instead of going to their homes that were just a couple of blocks further away. Since the library's basement wasn't ready to be an emergency shelter, we all sat like sardines in the dark without a radio and wondering what was happening around us. Thankfully, we were not hit by a tornado that day, and only tree branches and some rooftops suffered damage.

That is the power of radio. Like the announcer said in the article, radio fills time until we are needed in the community. Those times are not only times of suffering and fear, but also in our times of celebration.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Let The Communities Rebuild Themselves

If anyone has ears to hear, please let the citizens of New Orleans rebuild their community. Give them the tools, but let them do it.

There is a deep sense of appreciation and community togetherness when people who have been tramatized and suffered, work together to build their community again. They have a greater feeling of accomplishment and in some ways can be a great therapy of hope. There is a sense of inner and outer worth when you include people that should be included in projects that involve them.

These community citizens likely need some leadership and direction in certain expertise, like community planning and layout for sub-sea level habitats (get some experts from Holland and Venice, please), architects with knowledge of sub-sea level building design (the same building constructed in Iowa will not work in a water logged swamp), assessing each community member's skills and assigning them paying jobs and further paid training to bring them to the best of their abilities and bring their community back, hopefully better than before.

Letting an outside contractor do all this work just strips the community of their bond, forcing them to abandon it and look elsewhere for community.

Bush's Version of "Oops"

No apology needed apparently from Mr. Bush, as he tries to play the humble card and accept responsibility for the Federal government's role in the dismal rescue and recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Of course, as all Bush fans are unconsciously aware, Bush and Co do not make mistakes. Thus, apologies are for those who really do screw up? Bush is way too cool to apologize. That would make him appear weak and, er, humble. Qualities that a "war president" should not have.

It takes a tough person to admit his own fault, in my opinion, and is a strength, not a weakness. However, it is easy to take such an admission by the opposition as weakness and continue to toss mistakes in front of the person.

That happens in the workforce, too. Sometimes it is easier to lay fault with someone who will fess up and apologize for it, regardless if that person should be held accountable/responsible for such error. And sadly, it is likely the same person who would apologize that quietly work the hardest and do the best for the company, too. Even more dismal, those same people that majorly contributed to the mistake, are usually those who are quick to point their fingers at someone else. Of course, those finger pointers usually don't realize they do that, and think that they are never the ones to cause such errors regardless what they did or did not do.

It is always interesting to see this same diatribe paradigm happening between the political parties. And terrible to see that when a politician is elected, they forget that they serve not only Republicans, but also all of their constituents, regardless of political affiliation. These political squabbles should not be happening, especially during a time of national disaster. If Mr. Bush is such a "uniter" (not an "untier") then NOW is the time for him to humble up and get into the trenches with Congress to put together strategic plans for our national protection against all enemies, both foreign, domestic and natural disasters.

If Hurricane Katrina proved anything, it is that we fail when we strive toward self-serving goals and succeed when we work together for the good of all.

I would love to see some documented examples of President Bush officially saying "I'm sorry" for any situation during his presidency. Please post a comment with a link to any source that proves that President Bush has a geniune heart and the ability to apologize for his blunders.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

HAARP: WMD (Weather Makin' Device)

Another "Mid-Day Parody" episode: "HAARP: WMD"

Setting. The Bush Administration, upon receiving word of HAARP, the Weather Makin’ Device (WMD) in Alaska.

Dubya: Hell, why didn’t ya tell me about this machine before? And who the heck programmed that stupid thing. If you’re gonna plan a disaster, you gotta do it when I am NOT on vacation! Like when I’m well rested and ready to take action. Like in September. Comprehendo, amigos?

Rove: I didn’t know about it, either. Had I known, we could have planned for Katrina after this whole kidney stone episode, too.

Dubya: Yeah, what’s up with that, Turd? When I needed you most to put the spin on this Katrina chick, you were laid up in the hospital!

Rove: At least with all the spinning I’ve done the last several years, the doctors were amazed how quickly I could pass those darn stones.

Rumsfeld: Mr. President, ah, the Russians have a WMD, too. And so do the Europeans. My intel tells me that it was either of those two that caused Katrina, not ours.

Dubya: Condi, did you know anything about this?

Rice: Mr. President, ah, well, no.

Dubya: Rummy, why didn’t you tell Condi about these here WMDs? Maybe she could have used her secretary of state sex appeal to gain valuable intel about what Russia or Europe were planning with them. Ya know, that Maddy Albright coulda gotten that intel, and she ain’t purdy at all like you, Condi. Shoot! Do I have to do everything around here?!

Rumsfeld: Ah. Um.

Dubya: Speaking of doing everything myself, I told you guys last month that you needed to send that good-for-nothing longhorn Ofelia to freezer camp, but no. That darn stupid, worthless animal was roaming around my ranch, stinkin’ up the place. I had to go out and kill it myself!

Rumsfeld: Ah, well. Mr. President, we thought you meant that we needed to produce a Hurricane named Ophelia that would putter out on the eastern seaboard.

Dubya: Cryminies, people! What I need now is not some weak weather event, I need something radical. Crypse. Turd Blossom, you got any hair-brained ideas?

Rove: Mr. President, my forte is in spinning, not creating the event.

Dubya: For Pete’s sake! (silence, then the gears start turning, loudly) Hey, Rummy, does that WMD do earthquakes? The west coast needs to know I care. Can we get that Andreas Agassi fault to move or something? Maybe something really castatrophic. Hee, hee. Did I just invent another word again? Hee, hee. Ya know, we need to break in our new FEMA director. I think this would do the trick. Hee, hee, hee.

What Kind of HAARP Is the US Playing?

I thought you'd like to see what HAARP displayed for electromagnetic activity for the last month.

This graph shows some interesting information. Do you see the spike on August 24th? Note there was very little activity preceding this spike. Then about a week later around September 1st another less significant spike, that continued for a couple of days, then subsided. On around the 10th of September started up again, and around September 11th spiked with what looks like even more intensity than the one on August 24th.

Makes one wonder what is going to happen weather-wise, in the next day or two...

A Step or Two Beyond Predicting Weather?

Sometimes, people come up with the craziest ideas. Thinking that the U.S. can put up a bunch of antennas in Alaska in the 1990s and can now accurately pinpoint and manipulate weather like Hurricane Katrina, that is absurd.

However, I still think Bush & Co struck a real good deal with the devil.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sometimes It Takes a Disaster

Sometimes it takes a disaster to get communities working together. A resident of our small, rural community came in today and said that she is putting out a challenge to our community to raise $38,000 for Hurricane Katrina Relief. That's $10 per resident. She's placing cans at various locations in the community so people can drop off their donations.

We were talking and I mentioned that I had clothes and a sofa set that I wasn't using and would like to donate them, but relief organizations only want money. Then, the idea blossomed to a Community-Wide Garage Sale for Katrina Relief that will happen on Saturday, October 8th.

When concern for our fellow man overwhelm us, we feel compelled to help, and sometimes we need to be creative in our assistance. Who knows how this will grow. In the end, I pray that we can help others, and in the process help ourselves to realize that if we only get together, we can do so much more.

Imagine what our community would be like if we would unite, instead of being "untied." Imagine what our country and world would be like if we were more united instead of untied, not just in times of disaster and need, but also in times of prosperity, how much more we could become if we only worked together.

The Untied States of America

It is so easy for me to mistype the United States Of America as the "Untied" States. However, it is seemingly fitting to call us the Untied States. How we have been tripping over our untied shoelaces as we rush to an uncalled for war in Iraq. How we trip as we try to convince ourselves that we are non-partisan, only to show how untied we really are in Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court.

And, the recent untied coordination of local, state, Federal, and armed forces during and after the disasters from Hurricane Katrina. How untied we were when we try to say that we just want to get the relief efforts going and stop blaming people out of one side of our mouth and then blame others out of the other side, without even taking a breath.

Maybe when George W. Bush stated that he wanted to be the great "uniter" in running for the President in 2000, he really meant to say he is the great "untie-er, " instead.

French Quarter Shows Community in the Big Uneasy

Yes, there is hope in NOLA (New Orleans Louisiana). This link shows how the French Quarter shows inspiriation in their community efforts in the Big Uneasy.

This is just another reason why complete forced evacuations should not be done in New Orleans. What many people still in New Orleans need is to retain their communities, not abandon them so some federal group can commandere it and destroy, reshape it to their own guises.

The concept of belonging, of ownership and pride is alive and well with those who have stuck it out and are willing to work together to rebuild their city. We need to support them, not destroy them.

When the flood waters rose in Iowa and other states during the summer of 1993, instead of evacuating or looting, these people persevered, and they were sandbagging, in efforts to save their concept of belonging, of ownership and pride. We, as in FEMA and other relief efforts, need to support community-minded NOLA residents and help them rebuild, not force them to leave.

The only ones that should be forced to leave are those in areas at great risk for disease and those lawless looters who have taken life and liberties from fellow residents, have no inclination of a civil community, and have made NOLA a gangster haven.

It’s All in Who You Know! Bush Sticks Up for His Friends Again.

It’s All in Who You Know! Bush Sticks Up for His Friends Again.

Friends are very important to Bush. Very important. Gotta stick up for 'em.

Incompetence Quits

Incompetence Quits:

Don't you hate it when an employer chooses a job candidate that has little to no background experience in the job, and knowingly lies on their job application/resume? Mnay times it is who you know, or who knows you, that gets the job, not what you know. And as Bush has said he's gotta stick up for his friends.

Well, you know what goes around, comes around sometimes.

Although, wouldn't it have been better had the employer just hired the right person with the right skill set and experience for the job in the first place?!?!

Hey, There’s Good Muslims, Too! See!

This link is just another reason why we shouldn't be so quick to stereotype and judge others, although it is so easy to do. Muslims, as well as many people that represent a myriad of faiths and selfless service have come forward to help the many victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Blunder Blender Malfunction

There's a lot of blame gaming going on, not only about Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, but of the whole Bush Administration with just about every major crisis beginning with 9/11. Of course, Bush and the gang were "perfect" in response to 9/11, thus the majority of the American public has been more than graceous to give Bush and friends the benefit of the doubt countless times since 9/11.

But since 9/11 its been the "Blunder Blender". One blunder after another, and by the spin of the Blunder Blender, aka Turd Blossom, viola, its ok, Bush and Co get off again. Somehow Hurricane Katrina isn't fitting into the Blunder Blender as well as Bush and Co hoped. The "blame game" scheme is just not working to spin the tide of public opinion with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

But some Americans, who have previously been supportive or at least tolerant, are starting to get ticked off by the demonstrated incompetence by this Bush Administration. And then there are those of us, who have been so disgusted by this administration's ineptness, that we have resolved ourselves to give up on whatever hope is left, ignore the stupidity, and get on with what is truly real and worthy of our time.

The only problem with that was displayed in Louisiana last week. We are a community, and to turn our heads away from our community obligations, like Bush and friends have taught us to do, only brings our country as a community back to the reality that we are no longer community when disaster strikes.

Every man, woman and child for themselves. Don't rely on the government to help you in your time of need, unless it is a government planned event to bring your confidence of government back to the people. Prepare, then pray that at least your neighbors will be nice enough to help and not stick a gun to your head.

I would not be surprised to see another "disaster" happen in the United States soon. You see, Bush only performs best during planned events. And right now, Bush really needs some way to gain the public's confidence again.

Pray, please, pray for us. Pray for US.

9/11: Accomplices, Scapegoats, Lone Gunmen, and Final Thoughts, for now...

This Sunday will be the 4th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11/01. An event, that if all people shared a common love for all humanity, would have never happened.

Will a truth-seeking investigation ever happen? Well, good question. Would such an investigation give the true results or the results the government wants us to hear?

Much of the previous posts on 9/11 here have been about how'd it happen and who-dun-it. So, who did do it? I think that there's more than what lies at the surface, just as a glacier's surface is a small fraction of the whole glacier.

When reviewing the three big terrorist acts in the United States during the past decade and a half, I see three groups: accomplices, scapegoats and “lone gunmen.”

Of course, the media dishes out the government rhetoric that these terrorist acts were done by “lone gunmen,” either individuals or groups acting alone. And most of the public believes it, primarily because that is all they see at the surface. But these were MAJOR terrorist attacks. They don't happen because of the planning and execution of a few individuals or a small group of people.

Then, there are accomplices, those "evil governments" and those that “harbor terrorists” in Bush speak. However, in light of all the theories surrounding these three terrorist attacks, could there be accomplices from within? Could the United States not only “harbor terrorists” but entice and encourage them?

And finally the scapegoats, those “lone gunmen” who may have been led or misled to do the outwardly visible part of these terrorist attacks, and to take the blame for them. How much of the full operation did these lone gunmen know? Did they know their part of terrorism would be pushed past their small contribution?

Many, many questions. Very few truthful, proven answers. Do we really need or want to know the true answers? Is it better that we not know and trust the government? Do we really want justice?

One proven answer: Absolute power corrupts, and power corrupts absolutely.

One last question: Are the leaders of this country working for power and all it stands for, or working for the people and all we stand for?

We will know what our leaders work for in their actions. Look. Watch closely. They will show us if we only look.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Long Hours For Doctors Risky

Studies have been done with truck drivers and other professions surrounding the risks of too much work and too little sleep. In response to the results of such surveys, the Federal government has placed dramatic limitations on how long truck drivers can continuously drive. This legislation was done to make sure the roads were safe from sleepy truckers trying to run the long haul. Truck drivers now must log their driving time and prove to police that they did not drive beyond the limit. No truck driver is exempt from this limitation, not even inexperienced truck drivers. Unlike another profession... Medical Doctors.

The internship for medical doctors is another story, and one that has finally received a study on the effects of long working hours and little sleep.

This study compared performance levels of these interns during their intensive month long 90 hour per week schedules in hospital wards and intensive care units, plus overnight shifts every four to five days, with their 45 hour per week office clinic schedules. The study also compared the lack of sleep effect of working long hours versus alcohol consumption.

The result? Sleep deprivation "significantly impairs their ability to perform." What's worse is that they rated their effort to work and sleepiness levels much higher after their heavy work shifts than after their light-call shifts, even after consuming the alcohol.

After this study, work limitations were put in place for medical doctor interns with the maximum of 80 hours per week and a 24-hour limit on continuous duty. However, J. Todd Arnedt, one of the study's authors believes that simply limiting work hours will not solve the problem. He believes that other strategies need to be in place for "reducing fatigue-related impairments."

Maybe medical schools should be held responsible for scheduling interns with more time to successfully get their bodies in gear to sleep and then make sure they are able to sleep at least six hours at a time with sufficient REM sleep (hopefully, without drugs). Maybe part of medical school should be to teach effective (non-drug) relaxation techniques so they can get the sleep they need, regardless of all the information, experiences and thoughts that likely are running through an intern's head at the "end of the day."

Let's go back to the truck driver for a moment. Here's the laws for the truck driver: The USDOT's "Hours of Service" regulation mandates maximum driving and minimum resting periods. Under the "10-hour" rule, a driver who accumulates 10 hours in driving status can not drive again until he or she has accumulated eight consecutive hours in "off duty" or "sleeper berth" status. Under the "15 hour" rule, a driver who accumulates 10 hours in "driving" status can work an additional five hours in an "on duty/not driving" status. However, the driver can not drive again until the driver accumulates eight consecutive hours in "off duty" or "sleeper berth" status.

Why can't we have the same type of laws for all medical doctors? I would prefer to have an alert doctor diagnosing and performing surgery at the best of their abilities to help save my life, instead of an overworked doctor who, even if he/she tried, might not be able to focus well enough to diagnose or treat the patient because they are too exhausted.

The Federal government has recognized that truck drivers are not super humans, they need to realize that doctors are not super humans either and make sure they are not overworked and risking the lives of their patients due to some controling institution that believes that overworking doctors makes them better, while studies prove otherwise.

Maybe then there will be less malpractice and then, maybe health insurance might not be so expensive because laws have lessened the errors previously caused by poor performance and the exhausted efforts of overworked doctors.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

New Venice, Nee New Orleans

As civil engineers try to find solutions to the crisis in New Orleans, my husband brought up the idea to turn New Orleans into Venice.

Thus, I went online and found this while Googling for a good Venice website without a cheesy mini-file opening upon entry.

Venice, the city of water, is also facing issues with the rising sea level and its sinking community. Engineers there are trying to find ways to keep rising waters at bay, if only to keep their quaint, water town from becoming a completely submerged Atlantis.

I do like the idea of making the lower levels of New Orleans into a community of stilted and tall foundation building and allowing the waters to be the streets. I think it is sometimes better to let Mother Nature win and take over, and just work around it. I do feel that there will still be a need for some levies around the city, but there also needs to be some cooperation with nature and civilization. The natural wetlands need to be restored and preserved just as they used to pour tons of taxpayer money for the man-made levies. And large populations just can't live in a wetland.

We need to be more creative in getting the majority of the New Orleans population to live on higher ground. You got any ideas?

An Odd Twist: What Slavery and Wars Have Taught Us

In this post on the 9/11 tragedy, I turned my thoughts from the tragedy to some other ideas and thoughts, and came up with this odd twist. Much of it has little to do with 9/11, but in the end 9/11 did what the 20th Century wars did, created enemies and fear.

An Odd Twist:

Is this about the South losing the Civil War? Are Southern politicians still holding a grudge? Or is it a culmination of the wars we have been involved in?

Abraham Lincoln was the first president of the United States to represent the “Republican Party.” Apparently, back then the Republican Party stood for quite different beliefs. In an odd twist, the GOP (Grand Old Party, the nickname of the Republican Party), now seems to stand for much of the opposite of Lincoln’s Party.

We are ignorantly becoming slaves to the government. I know what you think. This isn’t possible. No, I disagree. The more we give up our rights, the more we allow someone to tell us what to think, do, and say. The more our nation is in debt, the more we as citizens must pay with taxes to get the debt lower. And the more we are slaves to the government.

It is not just the Republican Party doing this, it is the Federal government in general. Just look back at the twentieth century.

The United States learned a lot about governing people through World Wars I and II. And a lot has changed in our government structure. World War I was more about the Eastern front, and how the Russians Tsars were overthrown, for the good of the people. The U.S. learned that maybe socialism was not such a bad thing, but how does a country strip some freedoms to bring about some form of socialism? Hey, how about restricting right and then a catastrophe? Well, lo and behold, U. S. citizens were stripped of the right to sell alcoholic beverages (prohibition), and then, just a bit later, the catastrophe and not something small either. It was named the “Great Depression.” During the Great Depression, the government began offering jobs to people, and began working on a deal to make sure that the people would be “taken care of” through social programs (ah, the dawning of Social Security and Medicare).

The citizens of Germany became slaves to Hitler’s Reich in World War II, and I don’t believe that most of them knew what their country was going to do, nor do I think they wanted it to happen. They were just doing what their country wanted them to do.

Ironically, the United States seems to be following the same types of patterns of a government’s rise to power. U. S. citizens are slaves to the propaganda and the will of the government, and the rising debt of the nation. Freedom is becoming more and more just a meaningless term of endearment over the previous convictions of the Founding Fathers. Freedom and liberty are now just terms thrown around to make people believe that it still exists.

An interesting article about what internal terrorist groups our government find threatening, and those groups overlooked that actually kill people. Makes me wonder, who is our friend and who is our foe?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

9/11: What's Israel Got to Do with It?

Is there an Israel connection to the attacks of 9/11? Maybe.

The following link may expose how the “terrorist” event of 9/11 may be connected to funding efforts of the Israeli nation and God’s “chosen people.”

Man, is someone really trying to start Armageddon? Are religious and governmental leaders involved in a possible conspiracy to start the "End of Times" or is that giving them too much credit?

Is there a further connection to my earlier post about the Muslim population homesteading in very un-Muslim populated regions? (See "Are We Fighting the Wrong War" thoughts from August 2nd & 3rd.) Really, is someone trying to start something here?

"Presidential Prayer" Website Priorities

When the 9/11 attacks were viewed by anyone of faith, I am sure the majority of us were praying for the victims of the attacks and to find justice and peace through the ordeal. Apparently, people of faith are unable to find topics to pray about on our own anymore, and need a website to coordinate and prioritize our prayers, especially for the president of the United States.

Check it out:

This website actually has a board of directors, and a president/CEO! Currently, the bulk of the first page is about Hurricane Katrina, and praying for the president. Wonderful. The website also has "prayer points" like the Republican party spokespeople's talking points. Hmmmm... Does God work better when everyone prays the same words and prayer points? They also have a small area that links to an area where you can post prayer requests.

In some ways it is good to have a website that faithful can post prayer requests and intentions, however, it seems that this website seems more corporate than spiritual. However, the premise that we need to pray for our president is definitely needed, and now more than ever. Now, is the time that we pray, not only for our own repentance for sin and renewal of our faith, trust, and honest walk with God, but that we pray for our president to do the same.

Regardless of the president, we ought to pray that he/she walk with God, and hold to the true value of God's people, all people, as Jesus saw our value. And, pray that when we hear Jesus respond to our repentance with "Go, and sin no more," that our president hears and heeds the same clear advice.

Louisiana's Call For Help Came Sunday, Aug. 28th

The governor of Louisiana called for Federal help on Sunday, August 28th. The following link shows the letter in full.

The whole document focuses primarily on assistance after Hurricane Katrina with the evacuees and victims already out of harms way. It is all very legalese, and very difficult to sift to the meat of the request. However, there is one sentence on page 3 that tells it like it is, and this is the meat of the request:

"I request direct Federal assistance for work and services to save lives and protect property."

This plea for Federal help was sent on August 28th (and most likely sent via fax, email or other service that would get it to the right place as quickly as possible, not by snail mail, er the postal service). From all accounts on the news media, Federal help with the National Guard arrived on Friday, September 2nd. That's five days. Wow.

This is why we must not rely on the Federal Government. That is why we must prepare (remember the scout mottos?) ourselves. That means we must have the knowledge, resources and ability to coordinate ourselves locally and individually for major disasters (hurricanes, tornados, terrorist attacks, war strike, etc.) and the aftermath of those disasters (chaos, looting, human suffering, etc.).

Are tornado and fire drills enough preparation? I don't think so. As we have learned with the disaster in New Orleans, it can sometimes be the consequences of devastation that harm us. Many times we don't think of survival past the initial incident, but we need to and must prepare for continuous survival in adversity. This should include provisions for thirst, hunger, shelter, and bodily protection (clothes and defense); along with monetary provisions (liquid cash in a protected location).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Coincidence, or Plan? 9/11 and the Flight of the Bumble Planes

Yesterday was busy for me... A whirlwind of busy-ness. Today's a little less of the same, but, I do have time to post another 9/11 memory reflection-investigation thought.

Side thought...
At the time of 9/11, we collectively thought it was the worst disaster in the U.S. in modern times. Now, with Hurricane Katrina and the aftereffects of the "man-made disaster" with little and slow emergency response, 9/11 in my mind is taking a backseat in the disaster-mobile. I think the aftermath of Katrina is undesputably the worst ever disaster in this nation's history, not just because of nature's fury, but because of our country's inability to plan and implement a safe and quick emergency exit strategy for all the citizens of New Orleans like most civil non-third world countries would do.

But, I will still bring some links and thoughts that I have previously compiled for reflection. This one is on what really happened, maybe, in those planes on 9/11.

Was this all just a coincidence, or does everything line up all too well?

The following link features the hypothesis called “9/11: The Flight of the Bumble Planes.”

And, another perspective, from the cockpit…

I read the one about the pilot's thoughts and I can't imagine the sheer audacity of such people. I guess I care too much about people around me, sometimes, and see value in life.

An interesting source of possible plans on 9/11 happen to be on this website called

The Economics of Port New Orleans

The near future outlook for New Orleans is grim to say the least and its current condition a sad state, indeed, to say the least. Many, including me, have said that its time for New Orleans to move on (to higher ground) where the residents will be safer and not below sea level, where flooding is a continuous threat (and now we know the terrible consequences).

I read the article here, which gave me a renewed respect for New Orleans and its past, present and future impact on trade and economics for the Midwest and all of the United States.

So, how much dirt is needed to get New Orleans safely above sea level?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Now We Know How Iraq Feels

The devastation of the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina, and the tragedy of the last couple of days, especially in New Orleans, is heart-wrenching, to say the least. The Tsunami in Southern Asia just last winter gave us a glimpse of how devastating Mother Nature can be, but then it wasn't in our backyard.

Now, it is in our backyard, and in situations like this we humans will show our true stuff. Many try to help each other out, knowing that in the end everyone will be better for it. Some, on the other hand, take advantage of the situation, and in showing their true colors, display their animosity and despite for their fellow man.

Thought Aside:
Unfortunately, those helpful folks have no idea how to help each other when dealing with hoodlum thugs. If there could be one way that we could learn from 9/11, the current situation in New Orleans, and days battling the school bully, is that those who help others, need training to appropriately and effectively defend against and subdue those who harmfully hinder us. I'm not referring to more training for police. Police were not on the airplanes that flew into the WTC. Police are not around to help every person defend against the thugs in New Orleans. Nor, are police there to protect kids from school bullies. Maybe Tae Kwon Do should be mandatory in all schools, so that all kids know how to protect themselves throughout life, and in these situations, at least they would be able to protect themselves and others around them. We need to learn not to be passive and tolerant, but to be proactive and protective.

Back to the Main Point:
As we have been passive and turning a blind eye to the devastation with real humans (especially the Iraqi citizens) suffering in the Iraqi War, now we can see how difficult it could be to live with insurgents and thugs as we see it played out in New Orleans. The only difference is that the thugs in New Orleans are out for irreligious (is there such a word?) materialistic greed and total disregard for anyone else. Now, when we see footage from Iraq, maybe we should use the perspective of those trapped in New Orleans, and realize that there are innocent Iraqis trapped, too. Now we know how Iraq feels.

It is an outrage that we can't control the insurgents, whether they be in Iraq or in New Orleans. For a country that supposedly upholds life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we certainly don't defend it well. Speaking of our country, where's George W. Bush in all of this? How long did it take for Bush to get to ground zero after the 9/11 terrorist attack, a supposed surprize attack? We knew last Friday that a major hurricane was bearing down on the gulf coast and it might likely hit New Orleans, a sub-sea level metropolis. We knew it would affect millions of people. Where's the profoundly positively inspiring speech by the President at the site of devastation? Where is large FEMA groups, like at NYC after 9/11? Where's the National Guard?

Oh, I forgot, we sent the National Guard to Iraq.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Flight 93: What Happened?

It seemed that every commercial break I saw last night while watching the great shows on Discovery Channel (you know, Mythbusters and Top Gear), that one for the Flight 93 Documentary was always playing.

So, what happened on Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11, and what was so odd about that part of the attacks on that fateful day?